I found this on my bookshelf a while ago. It was written for me when I was in Grade 1 or something by two Grade 3 students who were my reading buddies. It felt vaguely familiar as I was reading it, but there are definitely things in here that went completely over my head (and, most likely, they went over the authors’ heads too) when I was little.
But it’s delightful so I’m writing a blog post about it. Merry very early Christmas.
So, first of all, excuse my pictures. I was too lazy to not do this while giggling on my bed, and the result is that they’re all really badly cropped and whatnot but it’s fine.
Next, we have to wonder whether the main character is supposed to be me. She does kind of look like me. Honestly, even the parents look a bit like my parents. And if so, it’s lovely that in a book written about me for me, the authors chose to portray my family as being too poor to afford milk. That’s a really fun and not stressful at all imagination game.
Milk is bad anyway, family, no worries.
Page 2 was just Emily’s mom yelling at her that they’re going on a walk. So here’s page 3, on their walk through a dystopian nightmare without any trees or plants at all. And if it’s supposed to be near Christmas, well, I guess they’re also too poor to afford outerwear.
I’m sure the subject of poverty will be treated sensitively by the authors. I can tell by how Emily says sadly that she wants to live in a house “like that,” which probably means, a house that people who can afford milk can afford.
For dinner, they had little pieces of bread.
I’m not going to touch the continuity error. The miserable dinner is enough for me on this page.
You know what. I’m not going to say anything.
I think the authors were heavily influenced by every Christmas special ever in which some lucky kid gets to go with Santa to do his grueling job. Also, Santa has a beard on this page.
Everyone is bug-eyed on Christmas morning, seems legit.
I do have some questions.
Why are they running downstairs if they’re expecting there to be nothing under the tree?
Also why is that chair so horrible.
Also the dad needs a better outfit. Hopefully one of his presents is an outfit that doesn’t match his chair.
Also I approve of the overalls, which are what Emily is wearing on this page, I assume.
Oh wow, that new chair is even worse than the other one, and it matches the dad’s outfit even more and I’m exponentially more horrified by that and also the fact that Emily changed her sensible overall outfit into a dress that ALSO matches the terrible furniture.
And the wrapping paper changed colours. It’s the magic of Christmas day.
Poverty solved, everyone! Just learn how to build a house, and then if you have lots of kitchen supplies you can eat stuff that isn’t just pieces of bread. Also a doll.
Honestly, though, it’s pretty much on par with every well-meaning Christmas thing that tries to tackle this subject. Remember Billy in The Polar Express? What was that? Why was that? And that was made by professionals! Professional adults! Talk to my sister about it, she has the bluntest takes ever on that aspect of that movie.
Anyway. Hopefully this year is the best Christmas ever to all of you who celebrate it. And to those who don’t, hopefully your December 25th is still really really good. And also, it’s kind of early for Christmas wishes but I’m not even sorry.
And thanks very much to Krista and Amanda. Ladies, you are amazing. Thanks for being my reading buddies. And also for writing me into a story in which my family is destitute and basically starving but it’s OK because Santa fixes it with tools and a how-to book on home construction.
AND. It’s the giving time of the year. Inspired by this story and its extremely naive take on poverty, I’m reminding me and you that food banks exist! They’re easy to give to because many grocery stores have bins for donations all year round, and I basically live at the grocery store so, cool. Check out their most-needed lists.
(Also, as someone who works at a non-profit I can tell you that financial donations are always the bomb) (seriously, cash is good) (non-profits have bills to pay and as nice as it is to get the stuff on the wishlist – and as easy as it is for people to do that if they happen to be at a store with bins or if they happen to be cleaning stuff they don’t need out at home – cash is the most useful thing)